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Organics Goes Hi-Tech….!

PRACTICAL & FREE: ‘ONE-STOP’ ORGANICS INFO ON THE NET
OPEG launches New Service with help from the Sustainable Farming Fund

A wide-ranging new database for the organics industry is now up and running on the Internet, thanks to the Organic Products Exporters Group (OPEG):
www.organicsnewzealand.org.nz

This service, which functions both as a library and a directory, is available for free. It already contains 540 listings in its New Zealand directory, and provides access to over 250 national and international publications.

Financial support for the database comes from a grant from the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry’s Sustainable Farming Fund. The OPEG-initiated project aims to catalyse the organics industry by providing practical information about the many aspects involved in operating a successful organic enterprise. Such issues include production, processing, certification, servicing, marketing and the export of organic products. The database also lists organic education and training providers. The project is a three year project with more reports and information being added over time.

The New Zealand organics industry is expected to generate around $110 million, (in domestic and export sales), in the current financial year. New Zealand’s organic product exports are projected to reach $500 million by 2006, according to OPEG. The value of the domestic market is said to be doubling annually.

To help the industry realise its potential, it needs more coherent strategies and information sharing, comments OPEG Executive Director, Jon Manhire.

“This new service supplies the latest, most relevant material on a comprehensive site that has the advantage of being easy to use and free to everyone. There is abundant information on organics out there, but it is dispersed. The problem that our producers often face is not knowing where to find it, or simply not having the time to find it.”

With the right information and contacts, Manhire says, individuals and organisations can better develop strategies and make sound decisions. “We firmly believe that ‘knowledge is power’ and that our database will help boost the financial strength of the organics industry.”

Because user registration is required, OPEG can actively track data on what information people are seeking on the site. OPEG will use this data to evaluate the greatest needs and areas of interest of users, and will refine the database’s content and format accordingly.

The material available on the site includes published production reports and general market reports. The reports are either hosted directly on the OPEG site or are accessible through links to other sites. (OPEG also supplies detailed country market reports and contacts with overseas buyers, but only for its members. Members can access the new database through the OPEG Intranet service).

The Sustainable Farming Fund is a government initiative managed by MAF. The purpose of the fund is to support community-driven progammes aimed at improving the financial and environmental performance of land-based sectors.

To access the database: click on Library and Directory on the home Page of OPEG’s Website

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